How Can I Help My Alcoholic Son?

Do you have an alcoholic son?

There is a mantra that echoes through family therapy sessions, individual counseling, and treatment in general: addiction is a disease. No matter how often we say it, the message bears repeating. Addiction is a disease.

Unlike most diseases, however, addiction carries stigmas and societal ramifications. If your son is an alcoholic, he may struggle with misperception and blame. The best way you can help him maneuver these rough waters is with understanding and compassion. You cannot change society at large, but you can create the best microcosm possible. In other words: your family is a mini-community. Create a loving environment, support your son through the hard times, and strategize a family treatment plan together.

Helping My Son Overcome Alcoholism

Communication is the first step towards improvement.

In order to emerge from any problem, you must talk it out. While you may find it awkward to discuss substance use with your son, the alternatives are frightening.

Every day in the United States, six people die due to alcohol poisoning. We teach our children to tie their shoes, look both ways before crossing the street, and a myriad of other life skills, but do we prepare them for the horrors of alcoholism? Even if you see your son indulging in one too many beers, you often cannot imagine that he will be one of the six daily deaths resulting from binge drinking.

Boys and girls can be quite different. As much as we want to raise our children in an accepting world that values everyone equally, gender norms and roles often intervene. For example, boys are encouraged to “toughen up” and solve their problems on their own. Since addiction is an issue that can’t simply be ignored, many young men suffer in silence. This may be one reason why alcohol poisoning disproportionately affects males. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 76% of all fatalities stemming from alcohol poisoning are men.

This is not the future you ever wished upon your son. To help your son stop binge drinking before it escalates into a pattern, consider the benefits of an effective intervention.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Intervention Strategies

The disease of addiction can be particularly cruel. It does not simply affect one’s physical health, but it also contorts their psychology.

Cravings for alcohol can consume a user mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is not enough to make someone aware that they have a problem; they may already know this fact in their heart and soul. You must provide them a network of support and understanding in which they can acknowledge their pain and make progress.

How do I talk to my son about alcoholism?

Breaking the ice can be difficult. Let’s face it: they call it “breaking the ice” for a reason. Ice is cold and impenetrable, and your son may be hesitant to admit any vulnerabilities. Instead of breaking that ice, first, try melting it a bit.

An informal intervention takes the form of a simple conversation, but it should be structured and positive. Ask if your son wants to change his drinking habits, if he is willing to join family therapy, and if he understands why you are having this conversation. Let him know that you love him and that there is nothing shameful about seeking help.

If an informal conversation simply isn’t enough, consider the formal intervention approach. Make sure you invite a trusted professional to join the gathering and assure your son that it is a safe space. Despite the fact that everyone is worried about him, he should not feel pitied or overwhelmed.

Structure is a key concept to keep in mind. Not only should the first intervention have a definite flow that your son (and the other participants) can easily follow, but you should lay out a plan moving forward. End an intervention with a comprehensive plan for future family treatment and follow-up progress.

Even though the informal intervention route is conversational, it should never be dismissive. Do not simply excuse past behavior; you want it to change and you are willing to help. Also, try not to corner your son into a discussion of blame or regret. Interventions should focus on solutions, and your son should be encouraged to be his own best advocate.

How do I help my son stop drinking?

If an informal conversation simply isn’t enough, consider the formal intervention approach. Make sure you invite a trusted professional to join the gathering and assure your son that it is a safe space. Despite the fact that everyone is worried about him, he should not feel pitied or overwhelmed.

Structure is a key concept to keep in mind. Not only should the first intervention have a definite flow that your son (and the other participants) can easily follow, but you should lay out a plan moving forward. End an intervention with a comprehensive plan for future family treatment and follow-up progress.

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

Acceptance Yields Ascension

Acceptance is a wonderful sentiment. Not only do you want to clarify that you accept your son for who he is, but you also want him to accept himself. Part of the intervention process is acknowledging that there is a problem. Once your son accepts your help, the whole world opens up!

If you are unsure how to reach this milestone of progress, we can help. Send us a private message, explain how we can help, and let us know how you are feeling. After all, alcoholism does not merely affect your son; it ripples through your family, your shared life, and your collective hopes and dreams.

Your son has a brilliant future ahead of him. Nobody can hold him back as long as he is empowered to be his best self. Even if he is caught in the throes of substance abuse, a family treatment plan can provide a path away from his destructive behavior and toward a better tomorrow. Call Nexus Recovery Services at (888) 855-6877 to discuss your concerns and ask whatever questions you may have about helping your alcoholic son. You can even begin the admissions process online as a first step toward a solution.

Substance use does not need to define your son. He has plenty of time to make his mark on the world… for all the right reasons.

If you have an alcoholic son, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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